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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying circle hooks b/c i heard they're better for the fish. However, I'm having some problems with them. I know (think) you're supposed to let the fish set them - wait for the steady tug and pull back slow/steady to set, but I think I might be pulling back too soon b/c I'm missing them. But if I let the fish take it for sure, a lot of times the fish gets it in his throat/gut. I thought circles helped prevent the fish from swallowing the hook. It's a big let down when I pull in a fish and see it swallowed the hook. Is there a reccommended size chart for different species? I know there's people here that love em or hate em ... just looking for your feed back.
Thanks as always
 

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The best hook-set with a circle hook is no hook-set at all. Just let the line come tight, and the rod bend over...the fish should be hooked in the corner of the mouth. Personally, I prefer J-hooks, but like you say, there are many anglers who prefer circles.
 

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I echo what Adam said...no hookset at all! I've used cirlce hooks for striper fishing for three years now with a great deal of success. Let the line come tight and reel. The hook should be firly embedded in the corner of the fish's mouth.
 

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RedAtNight,

For Bass we use 8/0 Circles. Smaller hooks don't seem to work as well. We fish free spool with your thumb on the drum of the reel. When you feel the fish tug we let it take a few feet of line then flip the drag level, and lift the rod slowly to see if it's hooked. If not drop the rod tip and back to free spool to see if you get another pick up.
 

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What everyone else said. However, even when you use circle hooks, you will still occasionally gut hook a fish. It happens from time to time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks a lot everyone, it sounds like I have been bulling the bait out/away too early
... patience
 

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I found that I have trouble using them when drift fishing, missing fish. I like them a lot when anchored, especially chunking for bass. Anyone else seem to have this issue?
 

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I found that when they work ...they are amazing.When they don't, you start pulling out your hair.
Still use them when chunking or drifting clam because that gut hooking stuff is tough.
 

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I use a size 8 gami circle hook. Circle hooks do take the fun and sport out of setting the hook, but ever since I've been using them almost 3 years now, I've had lots of success, not to mention only one striper that I caught was gut gut hooked. Felt really bad for the little guy. Thats not bad thought every fish has been hooked in the corner of its mouth. Note: circle hooks don't work when the fish tend to just take bites out of your bait. Does take a while getting used to not setting the hook. Just have your drag set right and when the fish is on you'll know-the reel screams and the rod bends, thats when you know the fish is hooked up. I have caght flounder, tog, stripers, blues, skates, rays, sand, dog, and brown sharks all on circle hooks. I preferr to use circle hooks when I'm taegeting fish that like to take the bait and run-stripers and blues. Oh, and you can never put too much bait on a circle hook, when going for stripers I put a whole surf clam on the hook. Hope all this info helps out, good luck and tight lines.

[ 09-19-2004, 10:32 PM: Message edited by: thediehardfisherman ]
 

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As for gut hooking, make sure you are using non-offset hooks with a stright eye. (not turned up or down) That will probably take care of it. I am a big believer in circles.
 

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we use them for clammin and chunkin the LEI bars--we keep the rods in the holders--when they go off--done--last year was great--some days we could only set 2 rods too many fish --some days 40+ bass most around 15 pounds
 

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A point everyone is missing is the position of the hook in the bait.
Picture the bait being swallowed and and how the hook will turn in the bait....could turn into gill cover, backbone or back into bait.....then you will gut hook.
 

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The only time I have used circle hooks is chunking while anchored. We left all the reels engaged and left the rods in the rod holders and the fish set the hooks themselves.... You'll know they're hooked up when the rod is bent in half and the fish is pulling drag.

I have tried to hold the rod and just real tight but couldn't resist the urge to set the hook ;)
 

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Aubv: yes on the braided line, and I use enough weight to touch bottom when drifting, but not much more than that.

I like them for livelining peanuts too.
 

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the key to using circle hooks is to understand where they came from. They were developed by the longliners who set miles of line rigged with baited hooks at a given interval, along the main line. The boat then steams back to the begining to retrieve the set line....there is no one to tend the hooks or "set the hooks"...thats where the circle comes in. It sets itself, by rotating into the fishes jaw and penetrating when the line comes tight....keeping this in mind the best "set" is no set at all...simply let the line come tight, then pick up the rod and begin to reel...dont pull or set the hook....these hooks were made for dead sticking!!!....I have caught many fish using them...from kings and stripers in the surf to cod offshore...TogginBob is correct.. make sure you are using non-offset hooks to avoid gut hooking fish...then step back and let the hook do your work for you.... :D
 

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For a given size fish, the sizing on circles is different from J hooks. Even among the different makes of circles, sizes have little relationship to the most important dimension, the distance between point and shank (the gap). A circle hook is dependent on geometry and anatomy to do its job. Unlike a J hook, a circle is designed to be pulled out of the fish's mouth; as the eye of the hook comes out of the fish's mouth the hook cams on the jaw and the jaw bone enters the hook. That is an essential; the jawbone of fish must be able to be completely encircled by the bend of the hook.

For this reason, I must disagree with thediehardfisherman when he says above, "Oh, and you can never put too much bait on a circle hook, . . ." You must avoid packing a circle hook with bait, again, the jawbone must be able to enter the bend without obstruction. With a J hook, all one needs to start the process is point penetration, it matters little where this happens, a firm hookset drives the point past the barb and pushes even the most packed hook's bait out of the way. With a circle, there is not that much energy involved, it's more fulcrum physics than power. If the jaw can't completely get inside the hook without obstruction, the point, if it does catch, will not be in the soft tissue behind the jaw, most likely it will barely be in the bone or cartilage and the fish will be dropped when pressure varies during the fight.

I agree that large baits are good and I also use a whole surf clam on an 8/0 Gami for stripers. I only hook the clam twice through the foot and use elastic thread to tie the top of the foot above the eye of the hook. This keeps the bend clear and I rarely miss and nearly never drop fish.
 
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